The governor has some explaining to do about how Flint's water ended up poisoned.
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According to Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence's congressional office, Governor Rick Snyder will be called to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next month, to testify about how the city of Flint, Michigan, ended up with its drinking water poisoned by lead.
Rep. Lawrence's office says the congresswoman asked for the hearing, even though she does not represent the district in which Flint is located. The invitation will request the governor to appear in person - not to send a representative to speak on his behalf.
"The purpose of the hearing is to identify precisely what went wrong in the process and to ensure that those who were responsible are to be held accountable and that this never happens again," said Tracy Manzer communications director for Rep. Lawrence.
Reuters reported that the committee will also asked Susan Hedman, administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 5 office in Chicago to appear. The committee wants to know how the EPA's oversight of Flint's water supply failed to identify the problem.
The former director of Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality, Dan Wyant, will also been requested to appear. Wyant resigned in December as the crisis in Flint became publicly known. One of the emails released by Gov. Snyder's office today was sent by Mr. Wyant about 18 months after Flint changed from buying water from Detroit to using the water from the Flint River. In it, Mr. Wyant admits, "We made a mistake."
According to The Detroit News, the governor's office is denying any request has yet been received:
"We have received no communication from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding a possible hearing and look forward to hearing from its leaders,” Snyder spokesman Dave Murray said “The governor is working to resolve the Flint water crisis, which is the result of missteps of government at all levels – local, state and federal.”
Gov. Snyder's statement sounds like he intends to testify when/if he receives a congressional request. However, Congress can subpoena witnesses if they do not voluntarily appear.
Rep. Lawrence's spokeswoman indicated Feb. 3 is the target date for the hearing.
Photo is from Gov. Snyder's Facebook album